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Saturday, 9 February, 2002, 17:14 GMT
Princess Margaret dies
Princess Margaret's coffin is taken from King Edward Hospital
The Princess's coffin is taken from King Edward Hospital
Princess Margaret, the younger sister of Queen Elizabeth II, has died "peacefully in her sleep" at the age of 71.

She had suffered a stroke on Friday afternoon and, after developing heart problems, was taken to hospital in London in the early hours of Saturday morning.

In a statement Buckingham Palace said: "The Queen, with great sadness, has asked for the following announcement to be made immediately.

Margaret arrives for her mother's 101st birthday in August 2001
The princess had been suffering ill-health in recent years
"Her beloved sister, Princess Margaret, died peacefully in her sleep this morning at 6.30am in the King Edward VII Hospital."

Princess Margaret's funeral will take place on Friday 15 February at 3pm in St George's Chapel, Windsor, the Palace announced.

Members of the Royal Family and friends will attend the funeral, which will not be a State occasion, and a memorial service will be held at a later date.

Prince Charles

Princess Margaret's coffin was taken to her former home in Kensington Palace on Saturday afternoon and will be moved to the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace before the funeral.

The Queen has returned from her Sandringham residence in Norfolk to Windsor Castle.

Prince Charles has travelled to Sandringham to support the 101-year-old Queen Mother. The Duke of Edinburgh is also there.

The Queen Mother has been suffering from a severe cold and it is not yet known whether she will be well enough to attend her daughter's funeral.

A St James's Palace spokesman said the Prince of Wales was "deeply saddened" by the news, as were his sons Princes William and Harry.

She will be remembered with a lot of affection... she gave a great deal of service to the country

Prime Minister Tony Blair

Princess Anne, who was in Antarctica on a three-day trip to commemorate Captain Scott's first Antarctic expedition, has been informed of the death and is planning to fly to New Zealand.

Lord Snowdon, Princess Margaret's former husband, said he and their children Lord Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto - who were at Margaret's bedside when she died - were "all extremely saddened".

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, speaking from Sierra Leone, led many tributes from politicians, saying she would be remembered "with a lot of affection" as she had given "a great deal of service" to the country.

Foreign tributes

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, said: "She was a much-loved member of our Royal Family and a great support to Her Majesty throughout the Queen's reign."

Several foreign leaders, including Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, have sent their condolences to the Queen, as has the Pope in a telegram and Don McKinnon, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

The Queen, Princess Alice (their aunt) and Princess Margaret, December 2001
Margaret (r) was last seen in public in December at Princess Alice's 100th birthday
A minute's silence has been observed at many sporting fixtures.

Members of the public have left some floral tributes outside Buckingham and Kensington Palaces, Sandringham House and King Edward VII hospital.

Some television and radio schedules have been changed to make room for special programmes.

BBC Radio 4's The Archers, on whom Princess Margaret appeared as herself in 1984, will pay tribute in a special storyline on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said it was too early to decide whether the death will change any of the plans for this year's Golden Jubilee celebrations.

On 18 February, the Queen is due to start a visit to Jamaica, New Zealand and Australia.

'Vivacious and fun'

Princess Margaret will be remembered by many for her glamorous lifestyle and turbulent love life.

In the 1950s she fell in love with the divorced Group Captain Peter Townsend - who has since died - but renounced him after coming under political, family and church pressure.

Couple wed in Westminster Abbey
Margaret married Anthony Armstrong-Jones in 1960
She later married the photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones (who became Lord Snowdon). They had two children but the marriage ended in divorce in 1978.

She had an affair for several years in the 1970s with Roddy Llewellyn, 17 years her younger. His wife Tania told reporters he was "devastated" by the loss of a "darling friend".

A heavy smoker for many years, Margaret's health had been failing in recent decades and she had suffered at least two strokes.

She was last seen in public before Christmas at Princess Alice, the Dowager Duchess of Gloucester's 100th birthday party.

Lady Glenconner, the princess's former lady-in-waiting and close friend, said the princess had obviously been suffering when she saw her last week.

"One could not have really wanted her to have gone on. Her quality of life was not good," she said.

However, she added that her abiding memory would be of Margaret as "tremendously vivacious, and fun, and roaring with laughter".

Prince Charles
"This is a terrible day for all the family"
Former Buckingham Palace press sec Dickie Arbiter
"It's a bitter loss to the family"

Key stories




Princess Margaret 1930-2002
See also:

09 Feb 02 | N Ireland
09 Feb 02 | Wales
09 Feb 02 | Scotland
09 Feb 02 | England
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